Active congregations

(also known as apostolic congregations)  - Active sisters took 'simple vows' and often worked outside the convent, running schools, hospitals, orphanages and other institutions. Most pre-reformation nuns took 'solemn vows' and lived in enclosed convents. Today, women who take simple vows are known as 'sisters' and those who take solemn vows as 'nuns'. Collectively, nuns and sisters are now referred to as 'women religious'.